Retiring United Way Executive Director Jane McIntyre has been named Charlotte’s 2014 Woman of the Year, in recognition of a career that includes charity leadership and public service on Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Board of Education.
The award, dating to 1955, honors “exceptional service and exemplary leadership” in the community. A committee of former winners served as judges.
McIntyre’s presentation will be made March 24 at ImaginOn, as part of the annual A Woman’s Place program sponsored by the Levine Museum of the New South and the Woman of the Year Committee.
“Jane McIntyre is the turnaround executive of the Charlotte nonprofit world. She is a real change agent and an extremely successful one,” said Cynthia Marshall, chairwoman of the Woman of the Year Committee.
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Being named Woman of the Year is the latest in a series of honors given to McIntyre in the past year, including lifetime achievement awards from the Charlotte Chamber and Rotary Club.
In December, she joined Michael Jordan, the Rev. Billy Graham and Coretta Scott King in being awarded North Carolina’s highest honor for extraordinary service to the state, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.
McIntyre is credited with resurrecting Charlotte’s United Way after the nonprofit became embroiled in a scandal over hundreds of thousands of dollars in pay and benefits given its former CEO, Gloria Pace King.
She joined the agency in 2008 at the height of the public relations crisis, and worked with the board of directors to implement new guidelines aimed at preventing future financial blunders. Those changes are slowly rebuilding public trust in the agency.
“Jane has literally transformed United Way, an organization that was in shambles when she took it over,” Alice Richey, a United Way board member, said.
In previous jobs, McIntyre worked for the Carolinas HealthCare Foundation in the 1990s, served on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Board of Education for more than eight years, and is credited with saving the YWCA from bankruptcy as its executive director.
“Her time on the school board, the YWCA and the United Way have all been challenges, but her leadership at each started with her heart and her love for the community,” said Mary Lou Babb, a former Woman of the Year.
McIntyre, 68, will retire from United Way on Feb.27 and she said it’s a job she’ll be sorry to leave, despite the pain of instituting budget cuts and trimming the amount of money member charities were allocated.
In fact, she said it’s the challenges she loved most about her work at the agency, as well as her work with the once financially troubled YWCA and the occasionally contentious school board.
“When I got off the school board, I missed it,” McIntyre said. “I like jobs other people would have hated and it’s part of my makeup. Once you accept that about yourself, then you quit thinking you’re so weird.
“I love the challenge and the opportunity to take something with potential to be great, and helping take it to that next level. The more complex the problem is, the better I like it.”
McIntyre said that’s something Woman of the Year winners may all have in common, though she believes early winners in the ’50s and ’60s might have faced bigger obstacles because of their gender.
Members of the Woman of the Year committee said McIntyre fits well in the group.
“Jane is an accomplished, driven, dynamic and successful leader who has shown decades of devotion to our community,” said Rabbi Judith Schindler, another former Woman of the Year.
“From the YWCA, health care, education, United Way and more, Jane has and continues to care about and help the disadvantaged throughout our city.”